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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Non-Bitchy Ways to Say "No"

One tiny word can make a big difference...You let a friend crash on your couch indefinitely. Your sister asks to borrow your pricey new shoes (the ones you haven't even worn yet) and yet you say "okay".

Your boyfriend wants to ditch dinner out tonight for a homemade roast - "You'll cook, won't you babe?" And you just agreed to take on a project for a stressed out colleague, even though you're swamped with your own workload. Sounds familiar? Many women get stuck doing things for others because it's really hard to say 'No!'. To save someone else the pain, you avoid a confrontional situation and just say yes.

Even though it may be unfair, and you end up in a high stress situation, saying yes sometimes is a lot easier than having to explain why you just can't do it. So before you utter another reluctant yes, (or do some internal damage repressing the subsequent rage), worry not, there are nice ways of saying 'No'. Read on.

Why you're a 'yes woman': When a guy is asked to take on an unwanted task, he generally doesn't hesitate to nip the request in the bud. No, he can't lend his bud 5,000 bucks. Sorry, no time to dog-sit for his neighbour...The reasons guys and girls don't react the same way to requests are both socially sanctioned and biologically driven. "Men are expected to assert themselves, that's what gives them status in our society, says social psychologist Susan Newman, author of The Book Of No. "They learn to say no early on becuse if they don't, they're labelled as wimps or pushovers."

On the other hand, women earn praise for playing nice and co-operating. "As girls, we're singled out for being helpful," says Newman. In fact, the female need to please others is so ingrained that many women equate saying no with saying 'I don't care about you'. Answering yes also appears to be hardwired.

Research shows that when women are co-operative, neural activity in the brain's reward region dramatically increases, bathing our bodies in feel-good martyrdom hormones. The result: women get an actual physical high from pleasing people. For many, it's an addiction. People think of the word 'No' as a negative and fear that using it will jeopardise a friendship or that their friends will think of them as selfish. Some women fear they will be left out of the group if they say 'no' or that their friends will think they are uncaring or lazy. Bottom line: women tend to be people-pleasers and agree to avoid confrontation and keep the peace, but that's not such a good thing!

Right of refusal: First, consider the resentment and bitterness that you invariably feel when you accpet a task you don't want to take on. Add to that the time required to do what you were asked, resulting in less time for the stuff that really matters to you, says Michael Silverman, author of Unleash Your Dreams. Also, giving into the 'yes habit' can backfire in your face: instead of coming off as a helpful person, you will earn a reputation as an ever-reliable doormat, says Silverman.

Not setting boundaries gives you little respect among friends, acquaintances, and colleagues, so they keep asking you for help because they know you're likely to accept. Finally, you don't do people any favours by coming to their rescue constantly. "Turning someone down forces them to rely on themselves," says Jana Kemp, author of No! How One Simple Word Can Transform Your Life.

'No!' There, you've said it... But it wasn't easy, was it? You feel like crap now, right? It actually takes time and practice before most women can confidently say 'no' without feeling guiltridden, comments Silverman. It helps to be prepared, however, so learn to spot the signs that an unwanted request is coming your way. "I've been meaning to ask... and "I know you're really busy, but... are obvious tip-offs, but be on the lookout for earlier hints, like awkward, drawn-out small talk, throat clearing, or a sudden lack of eye contact," explains Bill Lampton, author of The Complete Communicator.

If you find yourself already cornered, counteract your knee-jerk reflex to say yes by not responding right away. "Pausing gives the impression that you're truly considering the request, and also buys you more time to think," says Don Gabor author of Speaking Your Mind In 101 Difficult Situations.

When you do turn down the request, keep your 'no' short; something along the lines of 'I'd really love to, but I can't', says Newman: "Don't flounder around and try to explain why you have to refuse. The more wiggle room you give, the more ammo the other peron has to attempt to change your mind. Finally, resist the urge to apologise, since that only shows you're uncomfortable with your decision."

(Reproduced From Cosmopolitan. © 2010. LMIL. All rights reserved.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Have the Time of Your Life

Open your heart out this festive season and feel the joy.A unique combination of winter festivals, which binds us all together with a delicate thread of affection and joie de vivre!So, if like me, you are planning to make the most of this season then do remember to make enough time for these:

Connect more. Stretch out of your comfort zone and connect with more people. Though Facebook may be fun to network online, it is no substitute for connecting in person. I would suggest that you take the plunge and arrange a get-together for all those who matter to you. Invite the neighbours whom you pass by with a polite hello every day, old friends you haven't met for years, colleagues who need to see the fun side of you, relatives you have been meaning to have over but have not for years.Invite them all. Make sure there is good food and drinks to go around and let the festive mood take over.

Laugh a lot. According to a study, on average, adults laugh 15 times whereas children laugh about 200 times a day! I know in our adult world we have our deadlines, projects, presentations but maybe the festival season is a good time for us to put aside our 'grown-upness' and just laugh more easily and heartily. There is nothing like adding an element of dance and music to the playfulness.

Be different. Think out of the box, break away from old patterns and do something whacky this season. Rather than getting into the same old argument with your brother-in-law, do something different. When the niggling topic comes up, listen to him and tell him that he has a point (he does, it's just different from yours), be light-spirited and laugh off any disparaging remarks. Be more innovative with decorations, experiment with the party menu, have more fun being creative with your cards and gifts.

Give more. I do believe that you can only receive if you can give more freely. I've seen people who have a lot but are very scared of giving. These are the people who go through life complaining, feeling impoverished, being bitter and resentful. Then there are others who give freely and generously and life has so much to give back to them. They are happier, healthier and more content with life.

And this is not some new age spiel I am dishing out at you. My belief is backed with hard-core research.In a very well-known study, psychologist Larry Scherwitz from the University of California found that people who were more self-absorbed and used more of "I, me, mine" in their statements were at a high risk of coronary heart problems. The antidote, according to Scherwitz, was, "Give more, do things for reasons other than furthering your own needs."

Open your heart out this festive season. Connect more, laugh more, lighten up, give more. Have the time of your life!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The bird and the cage

Once upon a time, there was a bird. He was adorned with two perfect wings and with glossy, colorful, marvelous feathers.

One day, a woman saw this bird and fell in love with him.
She invited the bird to fly with her, and the two travelled across the sky in perfect harmony. She admired and venerated and celebrated that bird.
But then she thought: He might want to visit far-off mountains!
And she was afraid, afraid that she would never feel the same way about any other bird.

And she thought: “I’m going to set a trap. The next time the bird appears, he will never leave again.”
The bird, who was also in love, returned the following day, fell into the trap and was put in a cage.

She looked at the bird every day. There he was, the object of her passion, and she showed him to her friends, who said: “Now you have everything you could possibly want.”

However, a strange transformation began to take place: now that she had the bird and no longer needed to woo him, she began to lose interest.

The bird, unable to fly and express the true meaning of his life, began to waste away and his feathers to lose their gloss; he grew ugly; and the woman no longer paid him any attention, except by feeding him and cleaning out his cage.

One day, the bird died. The woman felt terribly sad and spent all her time thinking about him. But she did not remember the cage, she thought only of the day when she had seen him for the first time, flying contentedly amongst the clouds.

If she had looked more deeply into herself, she would have realized that what had thrilled her about the bird was his freedom, the energy of his wings in motion, not his physical body.

Without the bird, her life too lost all meaning, and Death came knocking at her door.
“Why have you come?” she asked Death.
“So that you can fly once more with him across the sky,” Death replied.

“If you had allowed him to come and go, you would have loved and admired him ever more; alas, you now need me in order to find him again.”

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ways to Declutter Your Mind and Get to Sleep

We've all been there. It's time to get some shut-eye, but tomorrow's to-do list starts swirling through your mind like a tornado. As your head spins into a panicked frenzy and your stomach is aflutter, you curse yourself for not being able to turn off your brain: Missing out on sleep is only going to make you even more stressed. Here, tips that'll help you unwind when your thoughts are running rampant.

1. Stick to a natural sleep schedule.
If you're having problems sleeping (like 74 percent of women across the country, according to the National Sleep Foundation), try to align your schedule more closely with nature's. "Your body clock, hormones, temperature, and blood pressure fluctuations measure out a 24-hour day that's in tune with the rising and setting of the sun," says neurologist David Simon, M.D., cofounder and medical director of the Chopra Center and author of the new book The Ten Commitments: Translating Good Intentions Into Great Choices. When you stay up into the wee hours reading a book, baking cupcakes, or doing a few extra loads of laundry, the odd hours you're keeping throw off your body's production of melatonin, the hormone that controls sleep regulation and wakefulness. "Syncing up your daily routine with the rhythms of your environment -- namely, by getting up around 6 a.m. and going to bed around 10 p.m. -- will help you maintain mental clarity," Simon notes.

Related: Health Hazards: Skimping on Sleep Can Make You...

2. Turn off the TV.
Chilling out in front of the television may feel like a good way to relax, but an emotionally draining or violent program actually provokes turbulent thoughts, which can result in insomnia, indigestion, even headaches. Unless you're looking at images of baby animals frolicking in a field -- or something just as innocuous -- skip the late-night TV, or at least turn off the tube a half hour before you turn off the lights, so you have some time to direct your attention inward. "This will help your brain separate the heart-pumping drama on 24 from the more tranquil reality of your bedroom, and let your mind settle into a peaceful state," says Simon.

3. Download your internal conversation.
Keep a journal by your bedside for the specific purpose of recording your thoughts before bed. This is not another to-do list, just a way to unload anything that's agitating you from the day that's passed, and anything you're concerned about for the one ahead. "It's like freeing space on your hard drive by saving files on a CD or Zip Drive," says Simon. Once you've got your concerns written down, put the journal away. This process won't make your worries magically disappear, but it'll clear your head.

Related: Why Am I So Tired? 7 Causes of Fatigue

4. Create a musical pharmacy for yourself.
Listening to mellow music jibes with the unwinding of your mind and body, and enables your brain patterns to remain steady. A slower beat stimulates the right hemisphere of the brain -- the area that's in charge of order, balance, and peace -- and will evoke a temporary forgetfulness, allowing you to slip away from your problems. "Fast beats, on the other hand, activate the left hemisphere, which affects reasoning, and can create tension and stress," says Simon. Even if you're comforted by up-tempo tunes, they'll counteract what you're trying to accomplish -- a good night's rest!

5. Tune in to your body.

Pay attention to physical sensations to quiet your overactive thought process. First, listen to the sounds around you, like the cars passing by, or the hum of the humidifier in the background. Then concentrate on your body: the feeling of your feet rubbing against the sheets, the weight of your pajamas against your skin. Focus on the passage of air through your nostrils, noticing the subtle aromas of your room and your own body. "Continue observing the inflow and outflow of your breath, and it'll bring you into the now," says Simon. Staying in the present relaxes your body and mind.

6. Look within.
Now turn your attention to the inside of your body. Still breathing deeply, allow yourself to get in touch with your emotions. "If sadness wells up, allow yourself to feel it without resistance," says Simon. "If you feel anger, let it move through your body and release it with your exhalations." Negative feelings that aren't fully expressed will continue to ricochet around in your head and upset you. Acknowledging and breathing through those thoughts will help you to let go of them.

Related: Are You and Your Partner Sleep Compatible?

7. Envision another world.
Imagine that you're drifting over the countryside in a hot-air balloon, or that you're floating in a canoe on a tranquil stream -- any image that transports you away from everyday worries. Okay, yes, it's a Calgon moment -- but it works! "Mental anguish often stems from the belief that we're living in circumstances that we can't free ourselves from," says Simon. Allowing your mind to picture adventures and goals that seem too impractical during the day puts tomorrow's to-do list on your brain's back burner.

8. Meditate.
Often the hardest part about meditation is trying not to fall asleep -- but in this case you can! Just lie comfortably, close your eyes, and begin observing your breath. Concentrate on words with a quiet resonance that have no significant meaning, like "So hum." As you're inhaling, silently say the sound "so." As you're exhaling, silently say the sound "hum." When you find that your attention has drifted away from "So hum," gently return it to the mantra. Continue like this for about 10 minutes, or as long as it takes to drift off.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Solar City Tower for Rio Olympics 2016

Olympic Games are always a terrific occasion to flex the architectural muscles beyond your every-day-joe-schmo assignment. For the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Swiss studio RAFAA flexed quite a bit and propose the competition entry “Solar City Tower” that—packed with solar panels and sustainable features—wants to help make Rio’s Olympic Games the first ever zero-carbon games.

Solar City Tower for Rio Olympics 2016 by rafaa

View to Cotunduba Island

From the brief of the international architecture competition: „The project under consideration should be located in the bay of the city of Rio de Janeiro on the Cotonduba Island, which is the obligatory approach for aircraft landing and will comprise a vertical structure which will seek to become a symbol for those arriving in Rio, creating an image potent enough to enable Rio to triumph in its bid to host the summer Olympics in 2016. The challenge, therefore, consists of designing an observation tower which will become a symbol welcoming all those who visit Rio de Janeiro, whether they arrive by air or sea.“

Solar City Tower for Rio Olympics 2016 by rafaa

View from Copacabana

Here’s a detailed project description from RAFAA:

The aim of this project is to ask how the classic concept of a landmark can be reconsidered. It is less about an expressive, iconic architectural form; rather, it is a return to content and actual, real challenges for the imminent post-oil-era.

This project represents a message of a society facing the future; thus, it is the representation of an inner attitude. Our project, standing in the tradition of “a building/city as a machine”, shall provide energy both to the city of Rio de Janeiro and its citizens while using natural resources. We hope to attain an international Olympic message with a political appeal. After hosting the United Nation’s Earth Summit in 1992, Rio de Janeiro will once again be the starting point for a global green movement and for a sustainable development of urban structures.

It will perhaps even become a symbol for the first zero carbon footprint Olympic Games.

Solar City Tower for Rio Olympics 2016 by rafaa

View to Copacabana

Solar City Tower for Rio Olympics 2016 by rafaa

Solar City Tower for Rio Olympics 2016 by rafaa

View from plane

The project consists of a solar power plant that by day produces energy for the city respectively the Olympic village. Excessive energy will be pumped as seawater into a tower. By night, the water can be released again; with the help of turbines, it generates electricity for the night. The electricity produced can be used for the lighting of the tower or for the city. On special occasions, this “machine building” turns into an impressive wonder of nature: an urban waterfall, a symbol for the forces of nature. At the same time, it will be the representation of a collective awareness of the city towards its great surrounding landscape. Via an urban plaza located 60 meters over sea level you gain access to the building. Through the amphitheatre, you reach the entrance situated on the ground floor.

Solar City Tower for Rio Olympics 2016 by rafaa

Night view of Olympic flame

Solar City Tower for Rio Olympics 2016 by rafaa

Solar City Tower for Rio Olympics 2016 by rafaa

Observation deck

Both entrance area and amphitheatre can serve as a place for social gatherings and events. The public spaces are also accessible from this point on. The cafeteria and the shop are situated beneath the waterfall and offer a breathtaking view. The public elevator takes the visitor to the observation decks and the urban balcony. The administration offices can be reached directly from the foyer. Its inner circulation is organised by an own entrance and the elevator. The semi-public spaces are located in the back area of the building; thus, they can be used separately. A retractable platform for bungee jumping is located on level +90.5. Long distance observation can be done from the observation deck on level +98.0. The urban balcony is situated at the top of the tower 105 meters above sea level. Here the visitor has a 360° view of the landscape and can experience the waterfall while walking over the glass sky walk.

Solar City Tower for Rio Olympics 2016 by rafaa

Floor plans

Solar City Tower for Rio Olympics 2016 by rafaa

Exploded perspective

Images: RAFAA

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Adobe Flex!

Do people use Flex for real projects?"

Absolutely. A lot of "real projects" have been built using Flex. Before going any further, I think there needs to be some demystification of what flex is. People seem to treat Flex as if it is some unknown product on the far reaching corners of the web galaxy.

Flex is just a way to create RIAs or other "Flash" content without using the Adobe "Flash" IDE. Flex has Flex Builder, the tool created by Adobe to write Flex apps, but in reality, Flex is just a framework to build RIAs that play in the Flash player (or AIR now that we have it).

"I have yet to see any web app/site that really uses Flex for an RIA.. most apps still use (and will use IMHO) web standard technologies like html, css, javascript, etc..."

I spoke at the Adobe MAX conference last year in Chicago on "Next Generation User Experiences" and how you can develop them in Flex.
Here are some examples of Sites that are built on Flex, and these projects have been worked on by myself, someone I know or have met in one capacity or another. I am just stating that so you can understand that this is first-hand information as opposed to "that could have been built in Flex".

Out of the giant list of Flex apps that have been launched to the public, here is a handful that you might recognize:
In addition to this quick list, I've seen Flex be used for others including NBC, EA, Discovery Channel, matchmine, Harley Davidson, The US Air Force, Citi, Sherwin Williams... the list just goes on and on.

One amazing new application that is built on Flex was built by the folks at Adobe Consulting: Also, most of the applications that you find Adobe putting out ( are built on Flex.

If you have Adobe CS3, you've seen the Adobe "Video Workshop"... which was shipped with CS3 on DVD and is also hosted online at

This application was built by my team for Adobe using Flex and also packaged up using the Adobe Flash standalone player to run on DVD, etc.

"So... What's Up with Adobe Flex?"

I could go on for ages on this topic. (But I will try not to!)

Flex: First, it isn't the perfect tool for everyone.

It is, however, a great choice for a platform if you are building an RIA or online application where the user experience could see significnat benefits from a "rich" interface. (all applications?)

Flex is going to be quite daunting for someone who knows the Flash IDE, but is not familiar with OO programming, design patterns, MVC, etc.

Flex was intended for "programmers". As the market has created demand for better user experiences and RIAs, there just aren't enough Flash developers out there to meet the demand. Flex allows non-visual developers (i.e Java developers) to jump into RIA development by giving them a tool that let's them build apps using the skills that they have as opposed to trying to learn Flash itself.

"So why Flex? Could you list out some reasons?
You need to answer that relative to other platforms."

Sure. I can tackle this one.

Flex isn't perfect for everyone. I've seen a lot of people with solid Flash chops try to use Flex and just get frustrated. (Nobody said Flex was "easy") :)

There has been a ton of improvement in the product since the early days. Flex 1.5 was rough to say the least. Flex 2.0 was a ton better, and Flex 3 is proof positive that Adobe has been listening to the community to make the tool more robust and more integrated with the CS3 line of tools.

"Why Flex over Flash?"

I think the case for Flex over flash has to do with the type of application you are building, and who is building it.

If you've got a very robust "application", Flex is probably the right tool. If you've got a team of "developers" as opposed to "Flash developers", Flex is probably the right tool.

If you've got a project that requires heavy use of data, data visualization, or needs to utilize some more advanced back-end systems ... Flex is the right tool.

This is especially the case when thinking about applications that might utilize LiveCycle Data Services or the OpenSource Blaze Data Services.

Flex isn't better than flash... it is just a different tool to accomplish the same end goal. You have to use a tool that works best for you and your team.

"Why is Flex better than AJAX?"

So, instead of saying "Why Flex over AJAX", I will instead say "Why the Flash player over AJAX".

Both Adobe Flash and Flex output Flash player content. Whatever you use to develop your application, there are significant benefits to using Flex over AJAX... again it depends on your specific project!

I will say that in recent months, I've done several evaluations of technology for client projects, and have had to compare Flex to AJAX for each.

In my opinion, the biggest advantages of using the Flash player as a runtime for your RIA as opposed to using AJAX:

  1. Write once, deploy cross platform
  2. You can turn your Flex application into a desktop application without much code refactoring (using AIR).
  3. With the evolution of browsers, you can be less concerned about how to migrate your code to keep up with changes in the Document Object Model in AJAX, as the Flash player is backwards compatible.
  4. The Flash player now has hardware acceleration... so you can build UI's that look and feel the way YOU want them to, and not forced into having limitations by your development technology
  5. 3-d integration (using papervision or another framework)
  6. Handles LOTS of data much, much, much better (data grids with tons of rows, etc)

To help you understand what other benefits flex can offer, check out

"So, how is Flex perfect when these java/rails/jango/foobar developers need to learn yap (yet another platform). Given the transition/learning time - what are the net benefits that make it better than sticking with the tried and true?"

It isn't. It should be a primary rule of building software: Use the Tools that you Know.

I will say that the ramp-up time for experienced Java or C# developers to move to Flex is nominal. ActionScript 3.0 is a lot like Java or C#.

The benefits aren't from a technology point of view. I really think that the benefits are around the user experience that you can get from a Flex application as opposed to something else.

If you know Java and that's your thing, then Flex isn't too far off from your comfort level.

Again, I wouldn't recommend anyone use a new technology on a critical project Especially a technology that is completely unfamiliar.

One thing I will say about developing in Flex is that to make "killer" flex apps, you need to really know the framework and be able to proof-of-concept your way from the initial idea to a working application.

You can build a flex application that "looks right" but has performance issues due to the way it was coded. There have been several projects we've worked on in the past where we were called in to help "save' a project that was built in Flex, but wasn't built properly. It was all there, but in order to make it launch-ready, needed a bit of refactoring, etc in order to be optimized for a great user experience.

All in all, Flex has been a really good tool in my experiences... But I preface that by saying I've been fortunate enough to work with some extremely talented software engineers that really know the framework and how to make it sing.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Declaration of principles

1] All human beings are different. And should do everything possible to continue to be so.
2] Each human being has been granted two courses of action: that of deed and that of contemplation. Both lead to the same place.
3] Each human being has been granted two qualities: power and gift. Power drives a person to meet his/her destiny, his gift obliges that person to share with others which is good in him/her. A human being must know when to use power, and when to use compassion.
4] Each human being has been granted a virtue: the capacity to choose. For he/she who does not use this virtue, it becomes a curse – and others will always choose for him/her.
5] Each human being has the right to two blessings, which are: the blessing to do right, and the blessing to err. In the latter case, there is always a path of learning leading to the right way.
6] Each human being has his own sexual profile, and should exercise it without guilt – provided he does not oblige others to exercise it with him/her.
7] Each human being has his own Personal Legend to be fulfilled, and this is the reason he is in the world. The Personal Legend is manifest in his enthusiasm for what she/he does.
Single paragraph – the Personal Legend may be abandoned for a certain time, provided one does not forget it and returns as soon as possible.
8] Each man has a feminine side, and each woman has a masculine side. It is necessary to use discipline with intuition, and to use intuition objectively.
9] Each human being must know two languages: the language of society and the language of the omens. The first serves for communication with others. The second serves to interpret messages from God.
10] Each human being has the right to seek out joy, joy being understood as something which makes one content – not necessarily that which makes others content.
11] Each human being must keep alight within him the sacred flame of madness. And must behave like a normal person.
12] The only faults considered grave are the following: not respecting the rights of one’s neighbor, letting oneself be paralyzed by fear, feeling guilty, thinking one does not deserve the good and bad which occurs in life, and being a coward.
Paragraph 1 – we shall love our adversaries, but not make alliances with them. They are placed in our way to test our sword, and deserve the respect of our fight.
Paragraph 2 – we shall choose our adversaries, not the other way around.
12A] We hereby declare the end to the wall dividing the sacred from the profane: from now on, all is sacred.
14] Everything which is done in the present, affects the future by consequence, and the past by redemption.
15] The impossible is possible

Paulo Coelho

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Secret Ingredient to Eating Healthy on the Road

As I am about to embark on yet another weekend trip, I realized there is one thing I have used over and over this summer and it has really helped me eat right along the way: MY COOLER!

If you don't own a cooler, you need to go buy one now and here's why... Something as simple as bringing a drink and some fruit can save you from making an unhealthy trip to the snack stand or drive-thru. This summer I have taken more trips than I can count and I always go with a cooler.

Related: Beat the heat tonight with one of these tasty no-cook meals

I grew up using a cooler for all the trips we took as a family and was pretty good about packing food when it was just me and Mike but now that we travel with a toddler I never leave home without some nourishment. Packing healthy snacks and drinks not only saves me time and stress but it also saves me money and the disappointment of settling for a less than desirable snack or meal.

We have a variety of cooler bags here at our house. Depending on how many people I am packing for I use small or large ones. I also have a bunch of reusuable ice packs to keep the food cold. You can make a $20 investment (cooler + ice packs) and be well on your way to saving that many times over once you stop buying food and drinks while you are out. It's not just about the money of course. It's swimsuit season and I would much rather have a seltzer and a peach at the beach than a big basket of hot greasy fries.

Bonus: Makeover your upper body with these simple moves

So if you don't have a cooler, go buy one. A great website is - check it out or you can simply go to your local grocery store, Walmart, Target, even the drug store to get a cooler today! Trust me, a cooler can save your summer!

5 Steps to Making your Family a Healthy Meal

You may find it difficult to plan and prepare healthy meals for your family, especially if you must contend with picky eaters, long work schedules and your children's dinnertime sports practices. By planning ahead and having healthy foods in the house, you should be able to cook a healthy meal for your family on most days. If you can not commit to a healthful dinner some days, cook a healthy breakfast for your family instead.

Step 1

Write down a rough menu plan for the week. If you know, for example, that you are going to have chicken on Monday, pork on Tuesday, homemade pizza on Wednesday, pasta on Thursday and fish on Friday, you will know which day to take what foods out of the freezer to thaw. This will also help you avoid last-minute runs to a fast-food restaurant or to the grocery store to pick up a forgotten ingredient.

LIVESTRONG.COM: Healthy Family Meals on a Budget

Step 2

Cook your protein source. If you are cooking meat, opt to bake, broil, roast or grill it instead of frying in oil, recommends KidsHealth. Choose a low-sodium marinade, or make your own with fresh herbs, olive oil and wine or vinegar. Avoid commercial products that are high in salt or sugar.

If you do not want to eat meat, other healthful protein options include eggs, dairy products, soy products like tofu, nuts, beans and legumes, suggests the Savvy Vegetarian.

Step 3

Prepare a grain product. The University of Iowa Extension suggests foods such as enriched pasta, brown rice, whole-grain bread and tortillas. Choose whole grains whenever possible to increase the fiber in your diet.

LIVESTRONG.COM: 5 Ways to Make Italian Dishes Healthier

Step 4

Serve fresh fruits and vegetables, if possible. You should eat at least five servings of produce per day, says KidsHealth, so eat one to two servings at each meal. If you do not have fresh fruits or vegetables available, prepare frozen or canned foods, preferably without added sugar and salt. Experts at the Mayo Clinic suggest finding new ways to integrate fresh fruit into your meals, such as grilling fruit slices, making fruit smoothies or serving a fruit pizza for breakfast or dessert.

Step 5

Offer low-fat or fat-free milk as a beverage to add calcium and protein to everyone's diet. If someone balks at drinking milk, offer water instead; avoid sugary sodas and fruit juices, recommends KidsHealth.

LIVESTRONG.COM: How to Eat Healthy as a Family

Tips and Warnings
  • If you are not a vegetarian, limit your intake of red meat, suggests the Savvy Vegetarian. Even lean cuts of meat contain saturated fat, pesticides and herbicides from the animal's diet, and not enough fiber. Use your slow cooker to have dinner ready for you when you walk in the door on busy days.
--By Michelle Kulas


LIVESTRONG.COM is designed to inspire people to change their lives, help themselves, and help others. For more on this topic, visit

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Culture affects how our brain works

Where you grow up can have a big impact on how your brain works, according to a study by psychological scientists Denise C. Park from the University of Texas at Dallas and Chih-Mao Huang from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The researchers have discussed ways in which brain structure and function may be influenced by culture.

There is evidence that the collectivist nature of East Asian cultures versus individualistic Western cultures affects both brain and behaviour.

East Asians tend to process information in a global manner whereas Westerners tend to focus on individual objects.

There are differences between East Asians and Westerners with respect to attention, categorization, and reasoning.

For example, in one study, after viewing pictures of fish swimming, Japanese volunteers were more likely to remember contextual details of the image than were American volunteers.

Experiments tracking participants' eye movements revealed that Westerners spend more time looking at focal objects while Chinese volunteers look more at the background.

In addition, our culture may play a role in the way we process facial information.

Research has indicated that when viewing faces, East Asians focus on the central region of faces while Westerners look more broadly, focusing on both the eyes and mouth.

Examining changes in cognitive processes-how we think-over time can provide information about the aging process as well as any culture-related changes that may occur.

When it comes to free recall, working memory, and processing speed, aging has a greater impact than does culture-the decline in these functions is a result of aging and not cultural experience.

Park and Huang note that, "with age, both cultures would move towards a more balanced representation of self and others, leading Westerners to become less oriented to self and East Asians to conceivably become more self-focused."

"This research is an important domain for understanding the malleability of the human brain and how differences in values and social milieus sculpt the brain's structure and function," concluded the authors.

The study has been published in a special section on Culture and Psychology in the July Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Island up for sale in Australia

Owning a private island on Tasmania's east cost may be affordable for many affluent people in Australia costing equivalent of a house worth USD 500,000.

The Picnic Island - resting in Freycinet National Park's Hazard Range in the middle of Coles Bay - is up for sale by expression of interest, according to 'Sydney Morning Herald'.

"You can't really value it as a normal block of land because it's so unique," Paul Whytcross, from Roberts Real Estate in Coles Bay said.

The island in southeastern state of Australia, is expected to sell for between USD 500,000 and USD 1 million. It has permits for a 10-person eco-lodge.

"If someone came along with a plan for a long-term lease to develop the eco-tourism side of things, that would be an option," Whytcross said.

The island's rugged sandstone rocks accommodate a large colony of little penguins and a nesting ground for short-tailed shear waters.

There are abalone, oysters and mussels, too. Despite being within 500 metres of the Tasmanian shoreline, it remains relatively untouched.

"The key thing is the conservation and preservation of the sea bird colony and that limits what you can do with it," Whytcross said.

Picnic Island is within sight of the upmarket Saffire resort and has a convict history.

The original landowner of the Coles Bay area forced his convicts to quarry sandstone on the island during downturns in the whaling season.

The vendor, a Queensland property developer, bought the island for USD 65,000 in 2005.

A planning application stipulates that the only development allowed is basic camping-style accommodation.

However, it has the unique selling feature of penguins and shear waters nesting near your campsite.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Angel of Death - most lethal flying artillery against terrorists

The 'Angel of Death' is the world's biggest flying artillery gun - the latest weapon being used by the British and US Special Forces to defeat Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

From a distance the Hercules AC-130 plane - nicknamed the 'Angel of Death' because of the shape that its anti-missile flares take when they are fired - looks like a normal troop carrier.

But the aircraft, which is rarely deployed in daylight, carries a powerful 105 mm field gun which can 'vapourise' targets at a range of 1,200 yards, reports the Daily Mail.

As the Hercules drops from 2,000 feet to as low as 80 feet above the battlefield, the howitzer - normally used by ground troops - fires 10 rounds a minute and has a back-up of three 25 mm Gatling cannons spewing out 7,500 rounds every 60 seconds to produce the ultimate gunship.

Once a camera sighted under the fuselage has fixed on the target, it sends the co-ordinates to an onboard computer - and the 'Angel of Death' is ready to unleash its deadly load.

To dampen the recoil and avoid pushing the Hercules off course as the howitzer is fired, the gun is set on rollers which run on a small track fixed to the aircraft's superstructure.

After the fire controller shouts 'Fire' the howitzer leaps back on the track and hits a hydraulic buffer that sends it back to be reloaded.

The high explosive 105 mm shells, each packed with 2.5 kg of TNT, rocket towards their target at 1,548 feet per second.

On contact, the shells can destroy buildings and spread shrapnel over a 'kill' area of up to 1,500 yards.

Codenamed 'Spectre' by the British Army's Special Air Service and and its navy's Special Boat Serivce in southern Afghanistan, the lethal war machines have been deployed to spread fear among the enemy.

During recent operations, British Special Forces troops have flown alongside American comrades to help pinpoint enemy targets and, in the words of one officer, 'unleash hell' against the Taliban.

The gunship is used against what intelligence chiefs list as 'Tier 1 Taliban' - top-level fighters, who are constantly hunted down by British Special Forces units codenamed 'Task Force 42' and 'Task Force 444'.

A Special Forces officer said: 'When a group of key Taliban fighters are taken out it is referred to as 'splashing the target' - a crude description, but it works for us.'

'The AC-130 really is the ultimate weapon. It is very accurate and simply vapourises the target and sends a powerful psychological message to the enemy.

'We have called in Spectre many times and you know the minute it starts to unleash its fury the enemy melt away.

'We have taken out several high-value targets on the border with Pakistan thanks to the support of the AC-130 crews.'

The 'Angel of Death' is operated by 12 crew members. There are five officers - the pilot, co-pilot, navigator, fire control officer and electronic warfare officer.

They are aided by seven enlisted staff - a flight engineer, TV operator, infra-red detection set operator, loadmaster and three aerial gunners. Their specially converted aircraft can stay in the skies for 12 hours at a time and is the largest airborne gun in the world.

Soon, switch on the lights just by your thoughts!

What may look like a plot of some science fiction flick is for real as it has been made possible to use your brain waves to control the environment around you, like the lights in your home or even your toaster.

A Toronto-based company has developed a system called thought-control computing and it's exploring a range of commercial opportunities that include screens on airplanes and video games.

Ariel Garten of InteraXon said the possibilities are endless. "Basically this is ultimately going to be the way that we engage the world on daily basis," the Globe and Mail quoted Garten as saying. "This is the way that we're going to be controlling the lights in our homes, controlling our household products, (and) dialling our mobile phones," she said.

The technology involves a regular-looking headset - but one embedded with electrodes that read brain waves. The brain waves are then processed on a computer. "When you focus, you create beta waves; when you relax, you create alpha waves," Garten explained.

She said once a person learns to control the alpha and beta waves, the "control signal" can then be used to program anything from lighting, to music, to motors.

A Canadian Press reporter who visited InterAxon's office to test the technology confirmed that it works, but that its uses seemed to be quite limited at this point.

Garten predicted the headset will ultimately become as small as a wireless bluetooth device and the technology will be available within two years. Garten said aircraft giants Bombardier and Boeing were recently shown a thought-controlled in-flight entertainment system and "the initial meetings we had were greeted with great enthusiasm."

But apart from controlling lights and other devices, the 30-year-old psychotherapist said the process could also be used in to treat children with Attention Deficit Disorder. "There's a lot of research that shows 10 to 12 one-hour sessions using this system are as effective as Ritalin," she said.

Garten said it could also help monitor a person's mental state. "Just like we do heart-monitoring now, for example, brain-monitoring allows you to measures the health and distress of a patient," she said.

Coming soon: Self-braking car that saves lives

Road accidents may soon become history - thanks to a new self-braking car technology.

The car's crash-avoidance technology will include radar and sonar sensors that will detect people and objects behind the vehicle and automatically stop the car.

Automotive company Nissan has developed the system.

But the technology will not be available in Australia for at least a couple of years.

Volvo, in 2010, will start selling its S60 sedan, which by using cameras and radar can detect pedestrians and apply the brakes if the driver does not respond to warnings.

Carmakers Audi are also working on similar technology, with the aim of reducing pedestrian injuries and fatalities that make up about 13 per cent of Australia's approximate 1400 annual road toll.

Nissan engineering director Masao Fukushima said that the avoidance technology used an extension of existing systems, including parking sensors and blind-spot warnings, so it would be relatively inexpensive.

"By using the existing technology, we can bring it in at a lower price," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Fukushima as saying

Sunday, August 1, 2010

One big tip for changing the way you think.

I’ve become a believer in catchphrases. Each day, I re-read my Twelve Commandments, and I know that having these ideas fresh in my mind really does influence my behavior.

I also have catchphrases posted in strategic places around my house – “Enthusiastic and creative” is on my desk, “Quiet mind” is in the bedroom, etc.

Studies show that by keeping certain ideas active and accessible through review and repetition, you can shape the way you think.

I’ve been asking other people for the phrases they repeat to themselves for inspiration or reassurance. Some people get their catchphrases from Virginia Woolf or T. S. Eliot or the Bible; some people get them from popular culture; some people make up their own.

Here are some good ones I’ve heard:

There’s no wrong decision here.
Always say hello.
Cut people slack.
What would my mother do?
Actually, this is good for us.
On, Stanley, on.
React to the situation.
Be easy to please.
Lighten up, Francis.
Fake it ‘till you make it.
One day at a time.
Expect a miracle.
At the still point of the turning world.
Will this matter next year?
Be still, and know that I am God.
Remember, everyone’s doing their best all the time.
Get a hold of yourself, Meredith!
Say yes.
People succeed in groups.
Recognize my ghosts.
Down with boredom.
I love Leo, just as he is.
Catch the rushing breeze.
Play the hand I’m dealt.
Do nothing, go nowhere.
If it doesn’t fit one way, then turn it around.
If things aren’t going to plan, it’s time to change the plan.
What would I do if I weren’t scared?

Six tips for how to FIGHT RIGHT in front of children.

Every couple fights.

Research shows that these conflicts fall into two categories: those that can be solved, like what movie to see on Saturday night, and those that can’t be solved, like how to spend money. Unfortunately, almost 70% of conflicts fall into the irresolvable category.

Since we know we’re going to fight, it’s important to learn to fight right. Studies reveal that how a couple fights matters more to the health of their relationship than how much they fight.

A couple with children has an additional pressure on their fighting style, because they owe it to their kids to maintain a certain level of civility, even if they’d take a no-holds-barred approach in private.

Here are some tips about how to fight right in front of children:

1. Don’t get physical -- obviously, not hitting, but also no throwing things, breaking things, or slamming doors.

2. Don’t criticize your spouse with sweeping generalizations, like “Your father never thinks about anyone but himself.” Instead, criticize specific actions, like “It really annoys me when your mother forgets to put gas in the car.”

3. Children are highly attuned to their parents. Don’t think they won’t notice the "silent treatment.”

4. Don’t ask your kids to tattle on a parent, or to choose a side.

5. Don’t expose your kids to inappropriate information about finances, sex, previous behavior, job worries, etc.

6. Obviously, sometimes you will fight in front of your kids. Try to do so only if you’re going to resolve the fight in that conversation. That way, you show your kids that people can fight and come to resolution.

Even better – and I’m making a big effort to do this when I fight with the Big Man when our children are around – is to joke around and be affectionate, even during a fight. This is practically impossible, but when I can manage, it makes fighting much more pleasant for me and the Big Man, as well as for our daughters.

Women are allowed to be modest while this trait is strongly prohibited in men

Modesty in males is, in fact, a big turn off for both women and men alike, according to the research.

Corinne A. Moss-Racusin, a doctoral candidate in Rutgers' Department of Psychology, explored the consequences for men (and women) when they acted modestly in job interviews.

She said that the applicants in the staged interviews were judged equally competent, but the "modest" males were less liked, a sign of social backlash.

Modesty was viewed as a sign of weakness, a low-status character trait for males that could adversely affect their employability or earnings potential.

However, in women, modesty was not viewed negatively nor was it linked to status.

"For men and women, there are things they must and must not be. Women must be communal and other-oriented, but they must not be dominant. Historically and cross-culturally, men have been stereotyped as more agentic, that is, more independent and self-focused than women," said Moss-Racusin.

In the study, 132 female and 100 male student volunteers (who earned partial academic credit for their psychology course) viewed videotaped, 15-minute job interviews of either males or females.

All the applicants were paid actors rehearsed to deliver similar, "modest" responses for the gender-neutral position that required strong technical abilities and social skills.

The researchers sought to determine which gender stereotype promote backlash.

"Women are allowed to be weak while this trait is strongly prohibited in men. By contrast, dominance is reserved for men and prohibited for women. Thus, gender stereotypes are comprised of four sets of rules and expectations for behavior consist of both 'shoulds' and 'should nots' for each gender," said Moss-Racusin.

The researchers' prediction that modest male applicants would face hiring discrimination was not supported, however, and she speculates that because men's status is higher than women's, meek men are afforded the benefit of the doubt and are less likely to encounter hiring discrimination than dominant women.

The study has been published in the journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity. (ANI)

Drinking red wine can help people live longer

Drinking red wine can help people live a longer and healthier life, says a research team led by an Indian American scientist.

The researchers found the extract, resveratrol, contained in red grape skin reduced inflammation in humans that led to heart disease, strokes and type 2 Diabetes, the Telegraph reported.

Researchers led by Paresh Dandona, chief of endocrinology at Buffalo University, New York, concluded that consuming resveratrol could help reduce the development of type 2 diabetes, ageing, heart disease and strokes, reports the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism,

Dandona, who did his MBBS from New Delhi's All India Insitute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), and his team used participants where half were given a natural supplement containing 40 milligrams of resveratol while the other volunteers received an identical pill containing no active ingredient.

Participants took the pill once a day for six weeks. Blood samples were collected at the start of the trial and at week one, three and six.

The results showed that resveratrol suppressed molecules known to cause inflammation in the body.

It also suppressed compounds in the blood vessels which interfere with the production of insulin, reducing the risk of developing diabetes.

Blood samples from the participants who received the placebo showed no change in these pro-inflammatory markers.

Keep yourself busy to stay happy

Washington:People who have something to do, even if pointless, are happier than those who sit idle, say researchers.

The study was conducted by Christopher K. Hsee and Adelle X. Yang of the University of Chicago and Liangyan Wang of the Shanghai Jiaotong University.

"The general phenomenon I'm interested in is why people are so busy doing what they are doing in modern society," says Hsee.

Sure, there are reasons, like making a living, earning money, accruing fame, helping others, and so on, reported the Psychological Science journal.

But, Hsee says, "I think there's something deeper: We have excessive energy and we want to avoid idleness."

For the study, volunteers completed a survey, then had to wait 15 minutes before the next survey would be ready.

They could drop off the completed survey at a nearby location and wait out the remaining time or drop it off at a location, where walking back and forth would keep them busy for the 15 minutes.

Either way, they would receive a candy when they handed in their survey. Volunteers who chose to stay busy by going to the faraway locations were found to be happier than those who chose to be idle.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Indians most confident globally about job prospects

New Delhi: Indians are the most optimistic about job prospects and personal finances globally and not only that, they are quite positive about the state of their personal finances in the next 12 months.

According to the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence report, 92 percent of Indians were optimistic about their job prospects in the next 12 months. Nearly 14 percent of Indians think it is an 'excellent' time to buy the things that they want and need and 71 percent think it is a 'good' time to make purchases.

"The positive attitude of Indians comes on the back of a robust GDP growth (9 percent) in the April-June quarter of 2010. For the fiscal 2009-10, India's economy grew by 7.

Female workforce in IT-BPO's to touch 5 Million by 2020

Chennai: Nasscom has predicted that the IT sector will directly employ around 10 million people by 2020 with the strength of female workforce in the IT-BPO sector expected to reach around five million. Nearly, 3.8 million incremental jobs will be created in smaller cities.

"The IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) sectors are expected to employ around 2.5 million by the end of next fiscal up from the current 2.3 million. Looking forward the sector is expected to employ 10 million people by 2020," Nasscom President Som Mittal told reporters here.

According to him, 4.1 million incremental direct jobs are expected to be generated in tier I (bigger) cities while 3.8 million such jobs will be from tier 2/3 locations.

"While the past decade saw the workforce largely from India, the next decade will see nearly 20 percent of the work force are non-Indians. The next decade will see Indian companies migrating to domain specific services from the current delivery centric activities," Mittal said.

With Indian IT-BPO companies getting integrated with global markets they will focus on the international policies and processes that would impact their operations from the present focus of domestic policies.

Citing Nasscom's eight best hiring practices, he urged the industry players to adopt the same.

According to Nasscom, some of the best practices are while hiring companies should insist on relieving letter, hire from the campus only in the eighth semester, check on non-compete agreements from customer contracts, employees to serve notice period, discourage frequent job hoppers.

To the query that many leading IT companies insist on bonds making the IT employees a "bonded labour" and do not issue relieving letters even after an employee serves the notice period, Mittal said: "Nasscom does not support such practices. Companies may be resorting to such practices to reduce the attrition."

"Best practices will also help the employees. Hiring in the industry has touched the pre-2007 levels," added R.Chandrasekaran, president and managing director, Cognizant Technology Solutions.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Google has Done it Again !!!

Check out this device ...
Guess what you can do with a touch screen, camera, scanner, WiFi, and google maps ...
View a building through it, and it gives you all the information about that building....


Choose a building and touch a floor and it tells you more details of the building. You can use it when you want to know a car model, an insect name, what kind of food is served at a restaurant and how much, who built a bridge, etc. etc.


It’s got a scanner built in.


so you can use it this way when you want to check the meaning of a word in the newspaper, book, magazine, etc. It would be much easier to read a real book. You can use the dictionary, wikipedia, thesaurus and anything else available on the web. What do you think?


Indoor guide:Works in a building, airport, station, hospital, etc.


Automatic simultaneous translation: here Latin to English.


Search keyword: Helpful when you want to find out a word from a lot of text in newspaper/book.


Nutrition: This kind of function would be helpful for health freaks..



Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Natural Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

A fast metabolism is critical to burning fat and managing body weight. While some dieters use diet pills to speed up their metabolisms, the risks and side effects of these drugs make them risky. You can use some safe and natural methods to speed up your metabolism.

Gain Muscle

The American Council on Exercise recommends resistance training for weight management. Think of your muscles as your body's engine. The bigger your engine, the more energy you can burn. Muscle, unlike fat, is active tissue that raises your metabolism just by being there. Adding a resistance training program is a sure method of naturally raising your metabolism. To make the most out of your time in the gym, train three days per week, training your entire body during each session. Use basic, compound exercises such as the leg press and shoulder press.

Keep Hydrated

Inadequate water intake can slow your metabolism. Water is responsible for several metabolic processes, including digestion, waste management and temperature regulation. The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking 2 liters of water daily. You can fight hunger as well as raise your metabolism by drinking a glass before each meal. To provide an extra boost, make sure your water is ice cold. Your body burns extra calories heating it up to room temperature.

Cardiovascular Exercise

Cardiovascular exercises such as walking, jogging and cycling are all effective ways to burn calories and keep your metabolism stoked. If you are just starting out, use a low-impact, low-intensity exercise such as brisk walking or moderate cycling. With more experience, you can graduate to jogging or intense cycling like spinning.


Whether you realize it or not, you might already be waking up to an effective natural metabolism booster. The caffeine naturally present in coffee raises metabolism and can improve fat oxidation. Drinking a cup before exercise can also improve alertness and help fight fatigue.

Marines to get their own flying car?

With seemingly every car on the road being designed by the same three people, all of whom live in the same subdivision, it seems the only leap forward in auto design is the leap upward.

Many hearts, then, were sent soaring at the news that the Federal Aviation Administration is giving the Terrafugia Transition a little light leeway in order to allow it to qualify as a light aircraft rather than a heavy machine. And now the Marines seem to be getting in on the flying Ford Focus act.

Logi Aerospace has announced that it has sent a proposal to DARPA for a flying car specifically for the use of the Marines and other military troops.

Called the Tyrannos, its principal benefit for soldiers lies in the fact that it can fly above the reach of roadside bombs.

Another quite lovely attribute is the Tyrannos' ability to take off vertically. And it all seems to be made possible by something called "shrouded propeller" technology, created by a company called Trek Aerospace.

The idea of a shrouded propeller sounds so forward into the future that there's something a little dispiriting to hear it also described by Trek as a "ducted fan," which sounds like little more than a piece of air conditioning equipment. Still, Logi Aerospace's Larry Ortega, who invented the Tyrannos' guidance system, seems confident that he knows what he's doing.

The Logi Aerospace Web site describes the Tyrannos as a four-person SUVish sort of thing "that anyone can literally drive into the air." Drivers/pilots will enjoy an animation on their windshield that directs them on a very strict route "up and down imaginary ramps that lead hundreds of feet into the air and stretch like Interstates across the country."

Top speeds appear to be 240mph in the air and 103mph on the ground, which really does make the Tyrannos seem like a flying SUV.

For those who wish to take the Tyrannos to Vegas, perhaps never to return, there are a couple of tiny drawbacks. At least they seem like tiny drawbacks to me. For example: "The aircraft is designed to fly at only 1,000 or 2,000 feet in the air, but at nearly any location above the landmasses of the earth."

However, it can, allegedly, fly "1,000 feet over 10,000 foot mountains."

According to Wired, Ortega said the Tyrannos would have "as much protection as helmets". Which inspires slightly less confidence than "you couldn't blow this baby away with a nuclear missile."

And I am a little skeptical as to whether Ortega really believes this is truly a military plane--or one for you and your little family of Range Rovering rogues.

Logi Aerospace's press release begins with much patriotic fervor. However, it soon devolves into a discussion about transforming "modern lifestyles." It promises that the Tyrannos could journey between Santa Barbara and L.A., a drive that normally takes two hours, in just 35 minutes.

Which would suggest a great boon to many Hollywood executives, always in need of more efficiency in their lives.

And let's not forget that it's "eco-friendly" too. Yes, it can land on just battery power.

Troublingly, the Tyrannos is merely at the conceptual stage. And one more thing bothers me just a smidgen. That name. "Tyrannos." Is that not slightly redolent of, well, tyranny? Surely we cannot have the military associated with such a concept.

Induction day at the Naval Academy

Yelling at the plebes

ANNAPOLIS, Md.--Thursday was I-Day, or Induction Day, at the U.S. Naval Academy here. That meant that more than 1,200 newbies showed up at the august school to begin their officer training. It also meant the beginning of four years of discipline and being yelled at when doing things wrong.

CNET Road Trip 2010 stopped in on I-Day to see how the Naval Academy's version compared to that of the U.S. Air Force Academy. And while there's yelling at both schools--as seen here--the Air Force Academy might have just a little bit more energy in the way they break in the newcomers.

Good-bye bags

Each of the new plebes brought a suitcase or a big backpack. But they won't see those bags again until the end of summer. Instead, they have a bag full of new clothes and shoes, and that's it for now.

Lining up

A group of new plebes lines up prior to beginning their Naval Academy careers.


One of the first stops on I-Day is to get their heads shaved. Here, a plebe candidate is seen before going under the clippers.


The barber has begun to work his magic.

Already got war wounds

This plebe required three tries to draw blood from the medical corpsman who tends each newcomer. That fact left several senior members laughing riotously.

Reef Points

Each plebe candidate is given a copy of the Reef Points, a small blue book with the rules, regulations, and mores of the Navy and the Naval Academy. They are required to memorize the book as quickly as possible.

Getting a white sack

Each plebe picks up one of these white sacks in order to stuff all their new clothes, shoes, and sandals into.

Fitting for cover

They are also given a new hat, known as the "cover." Here, a plebe is fitted for her cover, to make sure it fits properly.


The plebes are supposed to study the Reef Points whenever they can and are told to hold the small books in a very specific manner, as seen here.

Demonstrating a salute

Another important lesson is in how to salute the right way. Here, two members of the cadre demonstrate the proper method.

Learning to salute

After the demonstration, the plebes try saluting and are yelled at if they get it wrong.

Oath of office

The plebe candidates and their cadre leadership prepare for the oath of office.

Building the world's most advanced aircraft carrier

The Gerald R. Ford

NEWPORT NEWS, Va.--In September, 2015, if all goes well, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding will deliver CVN-78, the first of a brand-new class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, to the U.S. Navy.

The keel for this new giant was laid in September 2009, and it is expected to move from drydock to water in July 2013. The new carrier is both named the Gerald R. Ford and is the first Gerald R. Ford class of aircraft carrier. It breaks new technological ground for the Navy because it has a new power plant design, a brand-new Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, and a reduced weight and flexible infrastructure enabling the addition of new technology down the line.

On Road Trip 2010, CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman stopped in at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding here to see work on the new carrier and to get a first-hand look at some of the biggest industrial production in the world.

Rendering with schematic

This artist's rendering of the Gerald R. Ford shows some of the new features of the first-of-its-class aircraft carrier.

Krupp Crane

This Krupp crane, which is also being used in the construction of the Gerald R. Ford, weighs 200 metric tons.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Spain's Xabi Alonso Keen To Avoid Brazil

Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso has declared that he fears no team at the World Cup finals in South Africa but noted that he would like to avoid Brazil until the latter stages of the tournament.

Alonso echoed coach Vicente del Bosque's sentiments by declaring that Germany look good after their four goal demolition of Australia on Sunday night but the Real Madrid star is confident la Furia Roja have what it takes to go all the way.

I have no fear of anyone, but if we can avoid to Brazil, all the better. If we avoid them now we could face them in the final. We believe in ourselves but the title is far away.

"We should go slowly, first Switzerland and then two games of the first phase and then there is still a long way to go ... I hope we do not fail as in World Cup's of the past," he is quoted as saying by AS.

We're here a few days now, soaking up the atmosphere of the World Cup and we can't wait to get started. We're seeing almost every game. I liked Germany, they have versatility and balanced players that know how to score."

Monday, June 14, 2010

Header shot

1 - 7gggoal0524 ...

Header shot

This is among the most common of goal-scoring techniques when the ball's airborne. It looks simple to watch on TV, but it's not as a header can be mistimed, missed totally or the contact could made on the wrong side of the head.

How to head the ball right? - Focus & ensure you hit the centre on the ball with the front part of your forehead (above the eyeline and below the hairline, i.e. with a typical hairline & not a receding one :P)

Other points to be kept in mind while heading include: keeping the eyes open, having the arms out and one foot forward for balance.

An offensive header needs power, will need one to stand-up tall & timed to perfection for a goal. Christiano Ronaldo gets it right on most occasions - here's a compilation

Dummying or Fake kick

1 - 6gggoal0524 ...

Dummying or Fake kick

When you can fake everything else and still score, why not a 'fake kick'. A fake kick or dummying in football is one where you trick your opponent into thinking that the ball is going one way but it actually goes the other way.

While one may not see such scoring shots too often but a 'fake' kick can be an extremely rewarding goal-scoring shot. Here, the goal-keeper and the defenders are most often sold to the dummy and hence it becomes difficult for them to recover in-time for the next shot.

Let's go back to soccer school and see how professionals do it. Watch the video closely